Story of the Bookstore

I guess you could say my story tonight is the story of the bookstore. I read this article on CNN yesterday. It’s the story of Borders, the once-thriving-now-defunct bookstore that has closed its original Ann Arbor store as of Monday.

The chain saw its demise thanks to “technology and management issues,” according to the CNN article. I think it spurs the debate about books versus e-books, and whether the development of technology to “print” books for products such as the Kindle and Nook mean the end of “real” books.

I start thinking, what is the definition of “real” book turning into? It may no longer mean a printed paperback or hardback in our hands. Then I wonder, would Borders have survived if it seemed less like a huge departmental bookstore and more like a small town library? Don’t get me wrong – I spend many an hour in Barnes and Noble and I spent quite some hours at Borders – but to me, nothing compares to the tight aisles of and old worn couches of a tiny bookstore nestled in some small space in town.

What do you guys think? Did Borders not survive largely because of Kindles and Nooks? If the atmosphere had been different, would it have meant a different path for the stores? Are tiny bookstores (despite the potential of more financial obstacles) more likely to survive and are they more appealing to readers and writers for the atmosphere?

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